Karmanos Family Lawsuit Settled in Mediation

DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 02: Peter Karmanos, Jr., the owner and chief executive officer of the National Hockey League's Carolina Hurricanes, talks to the media at a meet and greet prior to her USA Hockey Hall of Fame induction at the Motor City Casino on December 2, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

The Karmanos family lawsuit settled in mediation today potentially opens the door for Peter Karmanos, father of the plaintiffs in the case and principal owner of the Carolina Hurricanes, to sell his share of the team, as he has publicly stated is his desire.

Karmanos Family Lawsuit Settled in Mediation

The lawsuit, brought against Karmanos by his three sons, alleged that he borrowed over $100 million from a trust fund set up on their behalf to keep the Hurricanes operating in the black. The point of contention for the squabble was over Karmanos’ failure to make $4 million worth of interest payments on the debt. When Karmanos failed to make the payments, his sons demanded repayment of the entire sum, totaling about $107 million. When Karmanos didn’t acquiesce, the lawsuit was filed in April.

The exact amount of the settlement has not yet been announced, and as the matter is a private dealing within the Karmanos family, will probably never be public information. What may become a matter of public concern, however, is that the settlement of this lawsuit leaves Karmanos free to pursue other interests. It’s likely that selling his interest in the team may be at the top of that list.

Karmanos’ Ambitions to Sell his Stake

It’s been no secret that Karmanos has been looking to sell his majority stake in the franchise for at least two years, since he made his public statement toward that end in 2014. The settlement of this lawsuit may have caused Karmanos’ need to sell elevate to his abandoning of a condition that a buyer promise not to relocate the team.

A report by 98.5 Sports in Montreal states that its sources say that Karmanos is now open to doing whatever it takes to sell, even if the potential buyer would move the team. While both Karmanos and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman have stated that the Hurricanes are not leaving Raleigh, and team president Don Waddell responded to the 98.5 Sports report directly, that may be the inevitable end regardless.

The Reality of the Hurricanes’ Situation

Perennial poor attendance figures which compliment equally disappointing results on the ice work in concert with Karmanos’ desire to sell and a new venue that seems ready to welcome a NHL franchise.

Quebec City, the runner-up for the expansion franchise which was recently awarded to Las Vegas, has a new arena. Despite the relative weakness of the Canadian dollar, the fact that a move from North Carolina to Quebec would enable the franchise to remain in the Eastern Conference works in favor of the new venue.

Whether or not the parties whom were interested in investing in the potential expansion franchise would be similarly interested in buying the Hurricanes is a matter of speculation. A willing seller with a new financial burden and an empty arena could make that proposition more enticing, however.

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